Liberal Democrat leaflet upset after quote error

MISTAKE: Not a Piper quote, see page 27 for letter of apology
MISTAKE: Not a Piper quote, see page 27 for letter of apology

Resident’s of Deeside and Donside are being encouraged to throw out a leaflet from the Liberal Democrats following Electoral Commission concerns.

A resident contacted Conservative candidate for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine (WAK), Alexander Burnett to express their concerns regarding a quote attributed to The Deeside Piper which appears on current ‘through the door’ Liberal Democrat literature.

Mr Burnett contacted The Piper to highlight his concerns that the paper was siding unfairly with Lib Dem candidate Sir Robert Smith in light of the erroneous quotation.

The leaflet currently being delivered across WAK is presented as a ‘fact sheet’ and contains three ‘Election Facts’.

Fact one states that Sir Robert has held the seat for 18 years and says that “there is no-one else better placed to stop the SNP in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine.”

Below this ‘fact’ an embossed quotation stating: “Lib Dem [Robert Smith] can retain his north-east seat” is attributed to an issue of The Deeside Piper from March 2015.

A series of email correspondences later, the source of the quote was tracked down.

Eli Harji, who works for the office of Sir Robert Smith, confirmed the mistake.

She said: “I can confirm that the quote in out [sic] leaflet has been attributed to the Piper, instead of the P&J.

“Please accept apologies from our campaign team in Edinburgh.

“No further leaflets will be printed using this statement.

“All efforts will be made to prevent further delivery of any other supplies held.”

However, only two days after assurances that the leaflet would not be distributed further, it was posted through the doors of a number of residents.

Sheila Thomson, who runs Sir Robert’s constituency office said: “Due to the size of the constituency we have a cascading delivery service.

“The campaign manager has contacted the area organisers and asked them to get the message to all the deliverers in their area. We are aware some went out on Wednesday...and a few in Auchenblae in the afternoon but before the message went out to stop delivering.”

Despite this, readers contacted the Piper again on Monday, April 13, to say that yet more of the known to be erroneous leaflet were being distributed.

Peter Bellarby, Sir Robert’s election agent said: “I will investigate and take further steps to stop this leaflet being delivered.”

See page 27 to read a letter of apology from the party.